Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin speaks during the re-launch of the ‘Asthma Malaysia Website’ at the World Asthma Day 2022 Programme at Connexion Conference & Event Centre (CCEC), Bangsar South May 19, 2022. — Picture by Hari Anggara
By Zarrah Morden
Monday, 13 Jun 2022 7:22 PM MYT
KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said that private healthcare facilities will now be allowed to borrow medicines from government facilities.
In addressing the issue of short supply of medicines, especially at certain pharmacies and private health facilities, Khairy said the government has outlined three steps that can be taken to curb the problem.
He said private health facilities can now apply for a medicine supply loan from one another or the nearest government health facility.
“if needed, patients may also be referred to government healthcare facilities to undergo treatment; and patients may opt to purchase medication from a Community Pharmacy with a prescription from a private clinic or hospital.
“MoH hopes that these measures will provide a temporary solution for the issue of the shortage of pharmaceutical supplies in private healthcare facilities so that high-quality healthcare services can continue to be provided to the rakyat,” the minister said.
MoH has also provided a list of affected pharmaceutical products and alternatives that can be used instead, which will be updated frequently.
“This measure has been introduced to reduce the impact of the current situation and to optimise the use of other generic medicines, that are still in supply, as alternatives,” he added.
“Malaysia is severely affected (by the major shortages of prescription and over-the-counter medications) as the country is dependent on the global supply of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) and finished products,” Malaysian Association of Pharmaceutical Suppliers (MAPS) executive director Dr Choe Tong Seng told CodeBlue on June 1.
The global disruption to supplies is reportedly caused by the Russia-Ukraine war driving up costs of shipments and ingredients derived from petroleum, the two-month lockdown in Shanghai, as well as supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the other hand, Dr Choe told the health news website that local factors have contributed to the shortages, such as the increase of common infections due to schools and offices reopening which resulted in a surge of demand for medications.
When asked how long the shortages could last, he was quoted as saying: “It is anybody’s guess. We can only pray that this situation will not last long.”
He reportedly urged clinics, pharmacies and hospitals not to make excessive orders with local suppliers to stock up on supplies so that other healthcare providers can get their supplies too.